AFC Telford 2-2 Mansfield Town, Saturday 22nd September

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MANSFIELD Town had to settle for a point at AFC Telford this afternoon, despite the home side playing more than half the game with 10 men.

All four goal came in a thrilling first half in which the Bucks had Liam Chilvers sent off on 38 minutes.

But the Stags were unable to make it count after the break, despite good chances for Anthony Howell and Adam Murray.

In an incident-packed first half, Lee Beevers had put Stags ahead on 12 minutes with a cross from the right that sailed straight in off the far post.

But Ryan Tafazolli put through his own net three minutes later to level and then Richard Davies made it 2-1 with a deflected shot that beat Alan Marriott.

However, Jake Speight was hauled down by Chilvers to gift Stags a penalty kick which Speight tucked away on 39 minutes.

And it still took a fantastic double save from Marriott before the break to deny the 10 men the lead for a second time in a superbly entertaining first half.

Telford defended well in the second half under the growing weight of Mansfield pressure and, despite a point from Bucks Head being a decent result on any day, Stags would have left the ground feeling they could and should have had more.

Spray bundled a shot well wide in the opening seconds.

Then, after Trainer had wasted a chance to shoot early, he laid a pass to Leslie whose 30 yard effort was only just over the angle with Marriott at full stretch and beaten.

Speight was well over on the turn as the ball ran loose following Geohaghon’s first long throw of the afternoon on six minutes.

A counter-attack on eight minutes saw Telford with a spare man, but St Aimie wasted the moment, shooting hard and low from 20 yards and seeing Marriott block with a completely free Jones screaming for the ball to his right.

However, the Stags were ahead with a little good fortune on 12 minutes.

A quickly-taken free kick by Stevenson in the middle caught the Bucks napping. Beevers weighed up a cross from the right and tried to pick out Speight at the far post. Instead the ball sailed over keeper Young and bounced into the net off the inside of the far upright.

Telford hit back straight away with a cross by Jones from the right picking out St Amie who should have done better than head straight at Marriott.

However, seconds later disaster struck for Mansfield. Spray got down the left and crossed hard and low into the middle of the six yard box where Tafazolli inadvertently turned the ball past his own keeper.

Mansfield were lucky when another good run from Jones ended with a firm cross that hit St Aimie in the face who was unable to do much about it or test Marriott.

Speight, stretching, could only turn a low Daniel cross wide from the left by-line on 28 minutes.

Telford again should have done better with a 32nd minute attack, instigated by the busy Jones, which saw Leslie put a low ball into the middle of the box where Jones scuffed a first time finish straight at Marriott.

But the Bucks were ahead for the first time on 32 minutes.

St Aimie pulled a pass into the path of Davies who beat the chasing Beevers to it and saw his low effort clip Sutton and roll just inside the post with Marriott helpless.

But the drama didn’t end there as Stags won a penalty on 38 minutes which saw Chilvers red-carded as the last man for the home side.

Rhead flicked on a long ball upfield from Marriott and Speight brilliantly turned Chilvers to go goalside of him and was hauled down.

The assistant referee on that side was perfectly placed to see and immediately put his flag up. The home side argued the decision but Speight eventually stepped up to send Young the wrong way and level matters again.

Spray headed well over from the first corner of the game three minutes from the break.

Spray was then sacrificed to bolster the home defence with Brown sent on.

Still the thrills came as Marriott pulled of a sensational double saver on 43 minutes.

Leslie’s initial deflected shot saw Marriott readjust and make a great one-handed stop. The ball ran loose to Jones only to see the keeper stand up big and block the follow-up with his leg.

Stags were angry in stoppage time as Davies, looking for a penalty, went down in the box in vain.

The referee had to be escorted off the field at the break as the home management and players and the home supporters all berated him for his decision on the Stags penalty.

It brought to an end a thrilling and sometimes bizarre first 45 minutes of football with the game all level but the home side short-handed.

When Tafazolli and Geoghaghon failed to clear the ball between them in Telford’s first post half-time raid, St Aimie miscued a low shot at Marriott to bring a routine save.

There was a break in play while Beevers was treated for a bang on the head in the home box.

Leslie’s 25 yard free kick from a central position deflected off the wall for a corner which Rhead headed clear.

Jones brought down Stevenson from behind on 55 minutes and then kicked the ball away in anger when the kick was given to earn himself a booking.

Cox made a double change on 56 minutes as Howell and Meikle replaced Rhead and Stevenson, Howell joining Speight up front.

Marriott raced out bravely to gather a through ball before Jones could get there soon after.

Howell swapped passes with Beevers on the right before rifling a rising shot over from 20 yards in the visitors’ first real threat of the half.

On 67 minutes Briscoe was sent on for Sutton with Beevers dropping back into defence to join Geohaghon and Daniel.

Salmon made a great header to cut out a dangerous far post Briscoe cross as the winger almost made a telling first contribution.

Then a Meikle cross was deflected into the near sidenetting with the away fans behind the goal believing it had gone in.

At last the visitors began to show they had the extra man and Young was behind a bundled Clements shot.

But Marriott still had to be alert to cut out a low Jones cross.

Murray had a great chance to win it for Stags with nine minutes to go as Briscoe did well to get to the by-line and send in a low cross which Murray reached but failed to get hold of properly and couldn’t turn on target.

In a rare home raid, Leslie curled a hopeful effort over the far angle from 25 yards.

Rose did well to prevent Howell getting a shot away as he forced space for himself in the box and soon after Howell again threatened as he cut in from the right and fired just over from 18 yards.

Three minutes were added on during which Young pushed away a long Geohaghon throw and Clements screwed a shot wide from 20 yards and also forced Young to gather another shot from the same range as time ran out on the visitors’ search for a winner.

AFC TELFORD: Young, Salmon, Davies, Trainer, Jones (Rooney 74), St Aimie (Byfield 90+2), Spray (Brown 42), Leslie, Taylor, Rose, Chilvers. Subs not used: Roberts, Collister.

STAGS: Marriott; Sutton (Briscoe 67), Geohaghon, Tafazolli; Beevers, Murray, Clements, Daniel; Stevenson (Meikle 56); Rhead (Howell 56), Speight. Subs not used:Thompson, Jones.

REFEREE: Brett Huxtable of North Devon.


GOALS: Telford – Tafazolli OG 15, Davies 34. Stags – Beevers 12, Speight (pen) 39.

CAUTION: Telford – Jones 55.

DISMISSAL: Telford – Chilvers 38.

STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Exodus Geohaghon.